Images: Grand opening ceremony
Manitoba’s skilled trades industry got a major boost with the official grand opening of the new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC) on November 15, 2018. The 104,000 sq. ft. building is designed to offer cutting-edge training for over 1,000 students per year in high-demand trades that are a vital component of Manitoba’s economy.
“This building makes a very strong statement of what the college is all about,” said Red River College president and CEO Paul Vogt. “Every component was designed for the student experience, for applied learning. The building itself displays the leading-edge construction techniques students will be putting into practice after they graduate.”
The project, designed by Number TEN Architectural Group in association with Pico ARCHITECTURE inc. and a multidisciplinary consultant team is the result of a five-year collaborative process involving a large stakeholder group including key representatives of RRC’s administration, instructional staff and students.
Construction of the STTC was led by Akman Construction and included over 60 subtrade companies as well as key contributions from Red River College students involved in skilled trades programming. In addition, approximately 75 percent of the more than 1,000 workers who helped construct the building are alumni of RRC programs.
At the grand opening ceremony, RRC student and newly hired Akman Construction employee Allison Enns spoke about her experience being involved on Akman’s construction team while on a series of co-op work placements as part of her RRC trades education. “I’ve been able to be on the construction site from day one, in a variety of different roles. To be working on this building, and see how it’s done from different perspectives, it’s an experience of a lifetime.”
Enns, who was eventually hired by Akman Construction, spoke with excitement about what the new STTC means for the next generation of RRC skilled trades and technology students. “Everything about this building represents what all of us are striving toward. It really showcases what we can do, and it’s a space where everyone can be excited to learn.”
Images: Allison Enns leveraged her RRC training into a job with Akman Construction | Student-built work benches
The building is oriented around a sky-lit central galleria which serves a two-storey pedestrian street that spans nearly two-football fields in length, flanked with floor to ceiling windows offering views into the each of the state-of-the-art workshops organized by trade discipline.
“Each workshop and classroom has extensive glazing into the galleria to encourage transparency, collaboration and sharing of knowledge so that the work of each of the trades is showcased,” said Number TEN partner Doug Hanna. “It was conceived as a ‘shopping mall’ of education for the trades.”
Images: Number TEN partner Doug Hanna addresses the audience at the grand opening ceremony | Transparency into the workshop spaces is achieved through extensive glazing
The design not only celebrates the skilled trades and technologies through its transparent and carefully integrated building components, but also serves as a teaching tool by providing opportunities for learning and hands-on interaction. Features such as sensors in walls, ceilings and windows provide real-time data for students studying how the building interacts with the external environment.
The building’s exterior is designed to be a focal point at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, offering a signature design statement that expresses the college’s commitment to innovation, training and applied research.
“The seemingly random patterns of black, white, and wood-coloured aluminum panels and windows were inspired by the visual cues from a birch forest and was done quite intentionally to create a non-institutional feel and make a more informal and inviting environment for students,” said Hanna.
In addition to the main building is the 6,000 sq. ft. Smart Factory, set to be completed in early 2019. The Smart Factory will combine emerging technology including robotics, automation, additive manufacturing, high-speed robotic inspection and industrial networking to support research and applied-learning.
Sustainability was another crucial design driver for the STTC project, with a variety of design features that improve energy performance by 34.6 percent compared to the National Energy code reference building. The STTC, currently targeting LEED® Gold status from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), recently earned a Green Building Excellence Award in Green Building Construction by the CaGBC for its application of sustainable design strategies.